Searching for a University is a daunting task, but when it’s for a postgraduate course it somehow feels even scarier. We’ve put together a short guide to picking a University for postgraduate study, including things to consider when making a choice. Reading postgraduate blogs are always a good place to start, along with asking friends and family for their advice, especially if they’ve completed postgraduate study. Remember to look for a University that is suited to you and don’t let anyone pressure you into making a decision.
Even if you’re not bothered by where a particular University ranks, you should still check to see where it is on the main tables before applying to it. Generally, the higher the position of the University, the better it will look in the eyes of your future employer, however at postgraduate level you should put a greater weighting on the performance of a particular department/school rather than an institution. Be sure to look at the two most popular UK University Ranking tables so you can find out what the best universities in the UK are.
Once you’ve seen the overall league table we suggest you make sure you try to attend a University open day before applying, in order to get a better feel for an institution. Open days are a great way to see your shortlisted Universities first-hand, but if visiting the institution isn’t possible, you can do a great amount of research from your computer. There are forums bursting with opinion, Facebook and Twitter offer some interesting reading and Youtube is great for offering insider information about what it is like to study at particular institutions.
Finally, a point that is worth considering is price. Unfortunately for many, this is often the deciding factor and as many institutions up their postgraduate fees so they are in line with their undergraduate prices, this may become the deal breaker for many more students.
Taking your time is the most important thing to remember though. Rushing a decision may cause you to regret it later on down the line and as many postgraduate degrees last longer than 12 months, it’s not something that you want to get wrong. Choosing a University for postgraduate study can seem scary, but planning ahead and taking your time can turn it into an enjoyable experience.